The Daily Telegraph

‘Toyboy’ jailed for swindling late movie star Lollobrigi­da

- By Nick Squires in Rome

AN ITALIAN “toyboy”’ has been jailed for three years after being found guilty of swindling Hollywood actress Gina Lollobrigi­da out of millions of pounds of property, cash, cars and jewellery.

A court in Rome convicted Andrea Piazzolla of embezzling €10million (£8.7 million) of assets from the estate of the star – who appeared opposite the likes of Sean Connery, Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis – from 2013 to 2018.

In her heyday, Lollobrigi­da was a huge star on both sides of the Atlantic. Nicknamed “La Lollo” by Italians, she later became a sculptor, photograph­er and ambassador for Unicef before her death in January at the age of 95. Humphrey Bogart once said of her: “She made Marilyn Monroe look like Shirley Temple.”

Piazzolla, who was described as a “toyboy” and “factotum” by the Italian media, was found guilty of taking advantage of Lollobrigi­da’s age and vulnerable mental state to con her out of much of her estate.

He was ordered to pay €500,000 in compensati­on to the actress’s heirs.

Prosecutor­s had asked for a heavier jail sentence of seven and a half years.

Piazzolla started working for Lollobrigi­da as an assistant in 2009, when he was 21. He won her confidence, became her companion and eventually moved into her villa in Rome. The pair were often seen together at glitzy events.

Among the assets he was accused of fraudulent­ly acquiring was an F-type Jaguar, which he allegedly sold in 2018 for €130,000, pocketing the proceeds.

He was also accused of selling two apartments near the city’s Spanish Steps for €2 million.

Prosecutor­s said that he kept the former sex symbol “in isolation” from her family and “in a state of vulnerabil­ity”.

He denied the charges and, shortly before the verdict was delivered, told the court on Monday: “I believe I was the only one who took care of Gina Lollobrigi­da with love.”

Prosecutor Eleonora Fini told the court in September: “The relationsh­ip between the victim and the defendant was unbalanced. There was manipulati­on on his part and a series of actions which were contrary to the interests of Gina Lollobrigi­da.”

Ms Fini accused Piazzolla of taking advantage of her “fragile state”.

Piazzolla’s legal team acknowledg­ed that he ended up with much of her estate but insisted that the transfer of assets was completed with her consent.

Lawyer Filippo Morlacchin­i insisted that Lollobrigi­da’s last years had been happy and fulfilled “thanks to the affectiona­te care of this young man”.

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